Razzle Dazzle 'Em

No lack of up numbers in 42nd Street, but The Misanthrope just misses

About as far as you can get from the million-dollar glitzerama going on at Fair Park.

That's not a bad thing. Little homegrown productions like this keep actors up and working (for love, not money). This is a "kids-let's-put-on-a-show" effort that costs about a nickle-98 and gives some young thesps the chance to grapple with semi-sophisticated material.

Director Vikas Adam, who also plays the title character, people-hating Alceste, has taken writer Neil Bartlett's translation and set it in the fashion world. Alceste is a photographer. His lady, Celimene, is a model. Their friends are models, a makeup artist, a magazine editor.

42nd Street is so tap-happy it'll make you giddy.
42nd Street is so tap-happy it'll make you giddy.

Details

42nd Street
continues at the Music Hall at Fair Park through September 1. Call 214-631-ARTS.

The Misanthrope
continues at the Bath House Cultural Center through September 7. Call 214-653-9936.

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Trouble is, Adam's Alceste starts out spitting-mad and stays that way, giving little indication why Celimene or the older vamp, Arsinoe, would find him irresistible. Adam, who bears a slight resemblance to Dustin "Screech" Diamond, just doesn't have enough "it" factor to make a zesty Alceste.

The actors also get bogged down in the verse-form of Bartlett's translation, which resorts to rhyming "stereotyped" and "ass-wiped," and "woman" with "inhuman." The scansion mimics Dr. Seuss much too often.

So I'll mean what I say and say what I meant; this play falls far short of 100 percent.

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